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Warner Bros. to Try File Sharing in Germany

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the studios-admitting-p2p-is-here-to-stay dept.

Movies 209

Carl Bialik writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Warner Bros. plans to sell TV shows and movies online in Germany via P2P. In2Movies, to launch in March, 'will feature movies dubbed into German, including "Batman Begins" and "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," for a fee that Warner says will be similar to the cost of a DVD. It will also offer television shows like "The O.C." and locally made programs and movies. Users, who will have to register for the service, will be able to keep the movie indefinitely. But instead of getting a movie from a central server, pieces of it could come from other people on the network who also bought that movie.' The president of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group says, 'Studios can't just turn their backs and hope "P2P" is going to go away tomorrow.'"

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Incentive for the user? (5, Insightful)

Fusen (841730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14598904)

So why would someone use this service against say The Google Video Store, or iTunes. TFA doesn't mention if the files would be cheaper, but they will still be DRM'ed so by using this service you get the movie like you normally would be you also have to sacrifice your upload.
I don't understand why anyone would want to sue this over the services that are already out.

Re:Incentive for the user? (3, Interesting)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14598965)

That was the question I asked myself actually. Why would I want to help WB in the distribution if I'm PAYING them for the movie too? Now if they gave me a free gigabyte of download for every 2 I upload, then I'd consider their service. I guess they think that we like the P2P idea enough that we'll pay regular prices just to use it!?!? Their reasoning here is beyond me.

Re:Incentive for the user? (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599061)

Why would I want to help WB in the distribution if I'm PAYING them for the movie too?

Presumably for lower prices. Bandwidth is cheaper than ever, but is still expensive. Especially when you figure in the number of machines necessary to power a large multimedia network. By marginalizing the cost of the download across many machines, WB is (theoretically) obtaining savings that they can pass on to you, the consumer.

Whether consumers see it that way (or WB passes on the savings!) remains to be seen.

Re:Incentive for the user? (5, Insightful)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599170)

From TFA: "for a fee that Warner says will be similar to the cost of a DVD"

It doesn't look like they're planning on passing any of the savings on to the real distributors/consumers, that was my point. And as has been stated repeatedly, if the prices are not going to be reduced I'd rather just buy the DVD and save my bandwidth(upload and download) for things that profit me as an individual. They need to pass on some form of secondary gain here and SIGNIFICANLTY cheaper pricing or free movies in exchange for sharing your bandwidth are the first two that come to mind.

Re:Incentive for the user? (4, Insightful)

neoform (551705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599237)

And what makes them think this will even work?
If I was to pay for a download, I'd cap my upload at 1k/sec (on my router even, if i had to) and I'd also kill the sharing as soon as it's done downloading.. why waste my upload speeds if it's going to be costing me something?

The only reason Torrents work right now is because people upload as much as they download, if everyone were to do like me in this case (which i think they would), this wont work at all.

Re:Incentive for the user? (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599290)

did you even read the summary? they will be charging "similar to DVD prices" for something that is of lower quality, lacking the DVD extras and you pay for the bandwidth.

Yeah, people will jump all over that.

it simply reinforces the fact that the movie industry is ran by a large number of retarted people that have zero clue about business let alone how to sell a product.

Re:Incentive for the user? (3, Funny)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599423)

and yet since the grandparent of this post gets a 5 for insightful for obviously not reading the summary and you are still at a 1, it appears the lesson is to just say something and pretend to know what you are talking about.

Re:Incentive for the user? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14599541)

Yet I pay $10 a month for 20GB of 3Mb/sec downloads from Easynews. Wonder how that works for them if it won't work for anyone else?

Yeah, I know...they don't pay for the content. No biggie. 10$ a month to cover bandwidth and 1 free movie. 2$ each additional movie/TvEp.

Done deal.

Now, if they can do this with the quality and lack of restrictions offered by "pirate" groups such as LOL (Who manage to get high-quality, ad-free releases for...nothing!), then we might just be on to something.

Otherwise, I'll continue to get my TV from OTA and :)

Re:Incentive for the user? (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599261)

Among other things, you might get a faster download.

Basically, what you should do is analyze the cost to you, with this use of your bandwidth as part of the cost. If they sell DRMed digital files for the same cost as a DVD, there's not much point getting it. If they sell for much cheaper (or more flexibly, such as ITMS selling recent, individual episodes), then it's a lot more interesting.

Re:Incentive for the user? (1)

ehrichweiss (706417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599315)

If you RTFA, they are planning on selling it at close to the same cost of a DVD. That was in the summary. So what were you saying again?

Re:Incentive for the user? (2, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599288)

I'd do it. As long as the movie isn't DRM crippled, I'd pay to P2P it for several reasons.

First, I don't want the DRM. I'm willing to give up "something" of mine in exchange for a freely usable movie. For example, I'd pay a premium for unprotected DVDs. Ripping is a total hassle, and a big waste of my time. If the extra cost to me is a blank DVD (or a bit of hard drive space) fine.

Second, I don't care about my outgoing bandwidth all the time, just when I'm trying to use it. I'll typically leave Azureus up after downloading something if I'm not interested in using the web once I've gotten the content. But if I want to get back to surfing, well, then it's going to get paused for a while.

Finally, I'd do it to encourage this type of behavior from the studios. Yes, I'll be responsible with your movie. No, I'm not going to share it without your permission. Yes, I'm willing to pay you for it.

Re:Incentive for the user? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14598966)

Presumably because they won't make this content available on Google Video or iTunes. Implemented properly I wouldn't mind using a similar service... a good bittorrent download is generally faster than one through iTunes. Of course, that's assuming it's done properly...

Re:Incentive for the user? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14598974)

would want to sue this over the services
People will sue over anything.

Re:Incentive for the user? (2, Funny)

drgreg911 (741844) | more than 8 years ago | (#14598995)

I, as a member of the people, take offense at that. You'll be hearing from my lawyer.

simple really (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14598999)

The Google Video store does NOT carry 'The OC' []

I don't see much of a future for google unless they decide to carry The OC like this Warner Brothers thing does.

Sure, I'll have to watch the OC in german, but thats a small price to pay to see the best writing and acting EVAR.

No, I'm not serious.

Re:simple really (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599093)

No, I'm not serious.

Thank God. You were freaking me out. For a moment there I thought we'd have to revoke your geek license! =)

Re:Incentive for the user? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14599086)

So why would someone use this service against say The Google Video Store, or iTunes.

Lack of choice. I'm sure if they had the ability, Google, Apple etc would love to sell things like Harry Potter. But copyright is an artificial monopoly, so the public, by definition, cannot buy from another source.

Especially considering the slow uploads... (2, Insightful)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599101)

In Germany, most people have a highly asymmetric connection. DSL (which is by far the most popular version of broadband) usually comes with bandwiths like
-1000kBit/s down and 128 kBit/s up
-2000kBit/s down and 192 kBit/s up
-6000kBit/s down and 576 kBit/s up
There are offers with higher upstream bandwidth, but those tend to be more expensive.

So distribution per P2P will usually be hampered by the lack of upstream bandwith. Why should a paying customer accept that (and have his own upstream blocked for hours), unless he gets the content cheaper as compensation for his cooperation?

Re:Especially considering the slow uploads... (3, Informative)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599235)

Any reasonable P2P protocol splits the file up into packets and sends out requests for packet numbers- you aren't going to be pulling from just one source, so upload bandwidth really doesn't matter as much.

Re:Especially considering the slow uploads... (1)

B2382F29 (742174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599375) upload bandwidth really doesn't matter as much

It wouldn't matter if there were only one person with such an asymmetrical connection. But if all (or most) of the clients are limited that way and you are not using multicast and considering that the sum of downloads can not exceed the sum of uploads, you get shitty download rates.

Re:Incentive for the user? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599132)

So why would someone use this service against say The Google Video Store, or iTunes.

They might have better prices, they might have material not available through other commercial channels, they might have more timely releases, etc. In other words, for all the same reasons that people buy from one store instead of another.

There are people who are perfectly willing to pay for licensed entertainment, and having multiple options of where and how to get it is a Good Thing.

Re:Incentive for the user? (3, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599223)

Speed of download. Especially if they had a few distributed servers in the mix run by WB, your download would be significantly faster than say, buying Quicktime copies of BattleStar Galactica through iTunes.

Re:Incentive for the user? (2, Interesting)

yabos (719499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599326)

Instead of the distributed Akamai servers that Apple uses?

Re:Incentive for the user? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599508)

500 servers vs 500000 servers- and the former needs to be paid for by the company doing the selling. You do the math.

Re:Incentive for the user? (1)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599246)

The article stated that it would be similar cost to a DVD which means in general 20 bucks US. That's not incentive enough for me to sign up. If they offered an incentive such as if you upload 20 movies you get 1 movie free or something, maybe...

whats this??! (2, Insightful)

conan_the_trollarian (929617) | more than 8 years ago | (#14598932)

Someone is finally waking up. I wonder how long it will take the music industry to wake up... P2P...the scent opens your eyes...

Trial balloon? (2, Interesting)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14598934)

Finally, some sense in the P2P/RIAA/MPAA wars!

If this works well for Warner, I am willing to bet they will extend this program to the rest of the world, pronto. At least, I hope so.

Re:Trial balloon? (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599049)

Sense? You pay full price for the movie and pay for its distribution. Gee golly! Where do I sign up for that?

Re:Trial balloon? (2, Insightful)

eta526 (833281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599129)

Don't forget the whole not having media thing. If I'm paying as much as for a DVD, why would I not want to have the actual disc that I could carry to a friend's house, or wherever?

Re:Trial balloon? (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599432)

The problem is, is that they are very afraid to undercut their own retailers. If they significantly undercut the DVDs, and people actually start buying a significant amount of stuff online, many retailers won't see it as worth their time to continue to even stock the DVDs. They have to keep the retailers happy. If you don't then they will revolt. It's the same reason why buying a computer direct from HP costs the same amount as buying it from the retailer, even though there should be no distribution markup.

Maybe common sense... (3, Insightful)

TCQuad (537187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599058)

Finally, some sense in the P2P/RIAA/MPAA wars!

They get your money to buy the content and then they don't have to pay for the bandwidth to get it to you? How could they not try it?

Re:Trial balloon? (1)

AkA lexC (939709) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599068)

Agreed!! the pricing and DRM thing will need to be looked at, but this is finally some progress.

Also, think of the waste we could eliminate by doing away with dvd's and cd's

They're still not quite getting it (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14598939)

So, for about the same price as a DVD, you get a DRM locked copy of the file and you get to pay a good chunk of their distribution costs. What a great deal!

Re:They're still not quite getting it (4, Insightful)

a_karbon_devel_005 (733886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599006)


The execs think "peer to peer" is a buzzword they need on their products but people, NORMAL people, aren't interested in the "peer to peer" part of P2P they're interested in the "free stuff I don't have to pay for" part of P2P.

I applaud efforts to make media online easily for all who want it, that's how people want to get content. But P2P in this case isn't doing anything but showing up in headlines and making executives think they're creating "hip" products.

Re:They're still not quite getting it (1)

MrBandersnatch (544818) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599154)

The execs think "peer to peer" is a buzzword they need on their products but people, NORMAL people, aren't interested in the "peer to peer" part of P2P they're interested in the "free stuff I don't have to pay for" part of P2P.

Actually I dont think everyone wants or expects it for free, just at a reasonable price. Charging the same as a DVD for this is a sure way for them to kill it off and say "well, we tried but no one bought anything!".

If they were serious about this they would be charging DVD RENTAL prices and wouldnt just be "trying" P2P based distribution...they would be making a serious long term commitment to this as an alternate outlet for their content.

Re:They're still not quite getting it (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599257)

NORMAL people, aren't interested in the "peer to peer" part of P2P they're interested in the "free stuff I don't have to pay for" part of P2P.

I don't necessarily agree. I think iTunes shows that people are willing to pay (for a reasonable price), but that they want the convenience of electronic distribution. The producers sort of get this, but they don't modify their business model to match. It just doesn't seem to occur to them that an electronic copy doesn't have as much intrinsic value as a physical reproduction that you can hold in your hand. Thus these online distribution methods often fail as consumers scream, "But I can get the same thing at Wal-mart and own something!"

Re:They're still not quite getting it (1)

Z0mb1eman (629653) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599486)

I think iTunes shows that people are willing to pay (for a reasonable price), but that they want the convenience of electronic distribution.

Yes, but grandparent is saying that the "peer-to-peer" part of P2P is the least important or wanted for people, not that they don't want electronic distribution.

I'd guess the hierarchy of desirability for methods of electronic distribution would go something like this:

1) Free, dedicated (eg. download-only)
2) Free, shared (eg. peer-to-peer - have to upload as well)
3) Pay, dedicated
4) Pay, shared

Sounds like WB's scheme is at the bottom of the list, AND without signficiant price savings over simply buying the physical media.

Having fun with your Jumping to Conclusions board? (0)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599131)

There is no pricing given anywhere in the article, you have no basis to make these assumptions.

I think the ideal price point for this would be about $9 a movie, or about 1/2 of what a DVD costs retail. It is significantly less than buying it retail, but significantly more than renting it, which it should be since you get to keep it.

(Just forget the fact that anyone can rent a DVD and copy it, because that is not legal, and remember you should be assuming that you're dealing with someone who likely wouldn't know how to rip a DVD anyways).

Not quite Jumping to Conclusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14599178)

The article states:
for a fee that Warner says will be similar to the cost of a DVD
so it all depends what they mean by similar

Re:Having fun with your Jumping to Conclusions boa (2)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599217)

" There is no pricing given anywhere in the article, you have no basis to make these assumptions."

did u even read the article??
"for a fee that Warner says will be similar to the cost of a DVD"

that sure sounds like pricing to me...

But they know you will steal it and share it (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599134)

But, you see, they know that you will steal it, and share the movie with five other people. Thus, they not only expect you to do their distribution, but they also expect you to do their reselling. From their perspective, you're buying an implicit license to make five copies, so really, they're giving you a price which is 1/5th the price of a DVD. By sharing it with your friends, you gain back the 4/5ths of the price in goodwill accruing to you.

Sounds like a good idea (5, Insightful)

TheRappingShoe (950074) | more than 8 years ago | (#14598952)

It will be interesting to see what kind of formats will be used, exactly how much they charge, and how much DRM they cram into the thing. If they do charge the same cost for downloading a film as the DVD version then where is the incentive to download? Surely the price should be lower to reflect the savings in materials and distribution costs.

Re:Sounds like a good idea (1)

Tomji (142759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599033)

Yes, it sounds like this is pure money for them, and also a harddisk crash or windows re-install (and thus DRM no longer valid) is much more likely then a scratched or lost DVD... Borrowing out to friends also wont work.

Hopefully this will fail badly

Re:Sounds like a good idea (1)

mjbkinx (800231) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599294)

Yeah, it really depends on the details. DRM could mean it has a Watermark, but no other restrictions. That could potentially cause problems for people exercising the right to a "Private Copy" (that includes copies for friends made from an original) German consumers have, but it would be acceptable, IMHO, if there was a mechanism to ensure protection against physical theft of my storage media of choice (consumer friendly, i.e. not a crypto FS).
If DRM means there is no way to tell if I still will be able to watch it 20 years from now, I'd be willing to pay, say, two or three days worth of the rental price. Finally, if I can't play it on Linux it's of no use to me at all, and I wouldn't even bother downloading if it was free.

In any case, if I can buy a DVD for the same price, guess what I'm going to do...
(gjoe b upssfou, mjlf j ep opx)

More DRM... great (5, Interesting)

chris098 (536090) | more than 8 years ago | (#14598962)

Although it's good that the movie industry isn't completely blind, I think they're going about this the wrong way. It's definitely a good thing that customers will be able to keep their purchases forever (instead of some 'limited time' offer), but I still have trouble seeing the value for customers in a P2P environment where they have to pay the same price as a DVD.

The article mentions the videos will have security features added to them so they can't be copied. Without more details, it's impossible to say how much of a hassle this will be. What if I have two computers and want to watch the video on the other one? The article is a bit weak on the details...

Re:More DRM... great (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599040)

> The article mentions the videos will have security features added to them so they can't be
> copied. Without more details, it's impossible to say how much of a hassle this will be. What
> if I have two computers and want to watch the video on the other one? The article is a bit
> weak on the details...

Burn the same download twice? Use a network to play the disk/image on one PC but watch it on another? That's assuming there's any more protection than on a normal DVD. I think you can write a DVD image containing protection such that it won't copy (without using software to crack it).

Re:More DRM... great (1)

Secret Agent X23 (760764) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599216)

What if I have two computers and want to watch the video on the other one? The article is a bit weak on the details...

...and what about those of us who don't want to watch movies on our computers? I don't mind watching a short movie that way, but when you're talking about feature films, I want to burn the damn thing, put it in my DVD player, lie back on the sofa and relax.

Re:More DRM... great (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599323)

It's definitely a good thing that customers will be able to keep their purchases forever (instead of some 'limited time' offer),

have you never heard of the origional Divx players? The DRM locked Dvd's that timed out if they did not call home to authorization?

The people that bought the completely unlocked DVD's were screwed hard when "divx" went out of business.

THEY should pay for the bandwidth (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14598967)

not the P2P users. Typical Hollywood, their greed knows no limits.

At last (2, Insightful)

danidude (672839) | more than 8 years ago | (#14598978)

...big corps start to realize that the old bussiness model is dead, and begin to use the new model at their advantage, instead of fighting the tide.

Wow, same price as a DVD? (5, Insightful)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14598983)

...but you get nothing? If there's any sort of limit on how many copies you can make, you'd best hope your computer never dies.

So let's see.... None of the usual DVD extras? One language? No hard copy? SAME PRICE?

Wow that's a bunch of ass.

Re:Wow, same price as a DVD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14599079)

Well all the apple gumbi's lap it up for their music and TV shows. Download it in for free in an unrestricted format, or pay to have a load of restrictions put on your music / movie / whatever........

Stop encouraging by buying this crap, you iDiots.

Re:Wow, same price as a DVD? (1)

friedmud (512466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599311)

CDs are usually about 5 dollars cheaper (33% off) on iTunes (compared to Best Buy)....

Not too mention that it is _uber_ convenient and with the price of gas the savings over driving to Best Buy add up.

I still like physical disks for a lot of things.... but sometimes you just want music now....

Plus iTunes DRM is better than most. It allows me to do everything I want to with my music. I can copy it to each of my 4 computers... and to mine and my wife's iPods. I can also burn it to a cd that will play in any cd player (and can be lent to a friend).

This is not to say that I wouldn't prefer non-DRM'd music... but as far as things go I think the DRM is a fair tradeoff for the convenience and price difference.

The _only_ thing I wish I could change about iTunes... is that I wish the songs were encoded at a slightly higher bitrate. It hasn't bothered me yet (don't really have that great of speakers to play it with anyway) but I would still prefer it was at a higher bitrate.... in the future I might have a system where I could tell the difference.


Re:Wow, same price as a DVD? (1)

Krach42 (227798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599200)

So let's see.... None of the usual DVD extras? One language? No hard copy? SAME PRICE?

Yeah, at least some Germans don't like to watch dubbed movies, and prefer to see them in English with German subtitles. (Like Americans with Anime) Of course hojillions of movies are dubbed every year, of which likely most are watched as dubbed.

hmmm, good idea, poor implementation. (1)

ssand (702570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14598994)

I doubt the implementation will be all that well. The reason most people use P2P is for the free stuff, and sharing bandwidth is a nessesity for that. If they are paying to have it download, few people will want to have their internet slown down by uploading to another person, or sharing the file once they have paid and downloaded the file.

Just taking advantage (1)

BricksAndMore (950646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14598997)

Just another company pretending to embrace and understand the file-sharing users, while really only saving the companies bottom line and giving no true extra benefit to the consumer. There is very little incentive for me to buy a DVD through file-sharing at the cost of an in-store and packaged DVD.

What?! (5, Funny)

lbmouse (473316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599002)

No Bay Watch or Hasselhoff music videos??

Re:What?! (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599411)

And this is why Google Video is still the champion.

Baywatch [] , or at least as good as it gets for free, I suppose.

Is this news? (1)

orzetto (545509) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599004)

...A trial involving a Hollywood major and file sharing?
Oh wait...

Country dependent (3, Informative)

Tethys_was_taken (813654) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599010)

This may work in EU countries where most broadband users have uncapped links, but in countries like Australia (or India, but there are bigger problems in that case), where most connections have usage caps, this is not going to work. People are going to refuse to pay for the content and then pay for the data transfer.

That said, it's a nice change to see some positive developments as far as the ??AA and the internet go, and a very welcome change from banning all innovation, as they tried recently...

Re:Country dependent (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599133)

I'm sure that the studios would consider this to be a positive development.

Paying DVD retail prices for a DRM'ed movie that is distributed by P2P is not a positive development for consumers.

Paying 1 or 2 US dollars for a DRM'ed movie distributed by P2P would be a positive development.

Re:Country dependent (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599395)

And in the US, we have nasty providers who might try and block a service like this, or write "reasonable usage" into their contracts without defining it. Blocking ports and such would probably happen, especially with providers like Comcast or even Warner Bros. themselves (Roadrunner/Time Warner), who offer data access but also own media interests. And "reasonable use" is a crock, as most companies advertise their net services as "unlimited" and "always on", yet harass those who use lots of bandwidth.

This makes no sense (4, Insightful)

Saint37 (932002) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599016)

If you're going to charge me the same price for a download as you are for a DVD and you're gonna strap DRM on it to boot, I might as well buy the DVD and rip it. I now have a hard and DRM freee soft copy all for the same price. []

Re:This makes no sense (2, Interesting)

atezun (755568) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599193)

If you hadn't noticed, most DVDs these days have DRM on them too. So Eeither way you're going to have to break DRM.

Re:This makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14599481)

Somehow I don't think that "breaking the DRM" is going to disturb the OP.

Half-assed (1)

vodkamattvt (819309) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599017)

So instead of owning a DVD, a physical copy of the movie, for the same price we cut a huge amount of cost for them by buying it online, hell if they use a bittorrent type style its even better for them. I don't think they get it yet. The idea about p2p is all about distrobution, not availability. We all know the DVDs and movies are available by DVD, we can go buy them. p2p is a new distrobution method that should be more efficient and cheaper. Good try, but no thanks. You can keep your DRM locked piece of junk. Ill take your weak DRM junk and nice artwork DVD's if Im paying for it anyway.

Flashback (4, Funny)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599024)

This reminds me of grade school, where an adult against tooth decay or something would try to "speak our language."

Flossing is stupid ill! 23 Skidoo!

Pay as much as a DVD! ugh? no thanks. (5, Insightful)

xirtam_work (560625) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599027)

Are these companies stupid? Do they think we're stupid? Why ask us to pay the same price, or similar to a store purchased DVD when there's no manufacturing, packaging or physical distribution to pay for? If anything an electronic copy of a movie or song should cost less to the consumer - much less.

I can understand people paying a similar amount for a 'premium item' like a just aired TV show or something that is similar to pay-per-view like a sports game. But, expecting people to pay full price for something that comes without the same quality of packaging as a movie that can be bought in a store is rediculous.

And to top it off they're using a Bittorrent style system where their customers are the ones paying for the bandwidth! If I upload your show to another customer for you it comes out of my quota of data from my ISP for the month and costs you nothing! What's in it for me huh?

These outfits really need to figure out that an electronic product should be *LESS* not that same price or more!

Don't forget these movies are likely to be compressed to a lower quality than a regular DVD as well.

It's not the costs, it's the compression... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599158)

The actual production and distribution costs of a DVD are negligable. You can buy DVDs of movies that have gone into the public domain at dollar stores...

As you say, the quality is likely to be lower than a DVD for any sensible file sizes, and that by itself should reduce the charge.

On the other hand, this is a test market. If it doesn't sell well at full DVD cost they'll change things.

Re:It's not the costs, it's the compression... (1)

piquadratCH (749309) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599502)

On the other hand, this is a test market. If it doesn't sell well at full DVD cost they'll change things.

Yeah, they'll say "The market doesn't accept electronic film distribution", blame the 'pirates' and shut the whole thing down. Then, they'll unleash DRM hell.

Yes, I'm paranoid, so what?! ;-)

Re:It's not the costs, it's the compression... (1)

xirtam_work (560625) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599503)

I know that the cost of production is low when they make millions of each item, but that all adds up. Also, if they make millions of a DVD that's a dud then they're lumbered with them and have to dispose of them. They're eliminating risk, which should have a cost value attached. Also, if a DVD is unexpectidly very popular they sell out of them and have to have more copies rushed to the stores at a higher duplication cost to avoid waiting in a queue. Also, they reduce warehouse costs, fuel for distribution and manpower. Big costs all around when added up.

I should point out that in any sales environment it's the retail end that makes the biggest cut of the profit. By selling direct they're making a hell of a lot more by removing the retailler from the chain even if they sell the film at half of the price of a DVD - which they should be in my opinion.

As for the bandwidth costs, if you're going to use a Bittorrent style model you should factor in a method of rewarding those users who upload your content to other peers in the form of credits or discounts for free films or merchandise. I'd say that's a no brainer to make this model work.

The reason that people turned to P2P in the real world wasn't that the technology was 'cool', it's because you can get stuff for free - without paying and it doens't matter what quality it is because it was free.

Good idea (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599029)

Shame about the price?

For the cost of a DVD, I'm going to want a DVD. For a file that I could lose in a hard drive crash or through an accidental erasure etc, and that's potentially going to take me a couple of days to download (even if it maxes out my 2Mbps connection) and tie up my connection (if it maxes it out), I'm going to want to spend quite a bit less. That's ignoring the fact that my house can (currently) comfortably store many more DVDs than my hard drive, and somehow I don't see it being quite as simple as just burning it to disc.

Still, that said, this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Is GNAB really P2P? (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599030)

In2Movies will use Arvato's new platform, called GNAB to deliver movies. GNAB adds security features onto the movies so they can't be pirated, makes sure the movie owners get paid each time a consumer on In2Movies buys a movie, and routes the movies through computers owned by In2Movies' users.

According to this article, GNAB [] is not really P2P. Any wagers as to how long it will be until GNAB is cracked?

Whats the point? (2, Insightful)

Workshed (838497) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599034)

Why would anyone want to buy from this store for the same price as the actual DVD? You have to wait a few hours (depending on your internet connection), the user is likely to only be able to play it back on their PC (so unless they have a media center PC they cant even watch it on their TV), and to add insult to injury you have to waste your upload to help cut the distibution costs of WB. All this is doing is creating a bigger profit for WB with every movie sold. I could understand it if the movie were significantly cheaper but that would require a movie studio to pass their savings onto their viewers and lets face it it'll be a cold day in hell when that happens!

Wrong idea (1)

Odocoileus (802272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599036)

I would much rather download media from a nice fat server than from a p2p network, given a choice. P2P is just the best way when most of the people sharing files don't have super bloogity-bloog severs and pipes. No p2p if I'm paying full price.

Sounds cool, but (1)

GmAz (916505) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599050)

Why would anyone use this? I mean, the price will be about the same as a DVD, but will be a download. Why not then just go and buy the DVD? If you buy all episodes/movies you want and your hard drive suddenly desires to become a paper weight, then what? You have to re-download them all. Plus, you then have to buy blank media to burn them if burning is allowed. And if it is allowed, how does Warner Bros expect the people from just re-ripping and sharing it on another P2P network? It sounds good and like its for the people, but it sounds like Warner Bros just wants to make the same amount of money they are, but no production costs of DVDs and all that stuff.

What's the format (1)

motorsabbath (243336) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599069)

All the comments about massive profit margins aside, what's the video format?

huh? (1)

Councilor Hart (673770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599074)

Same price as a DVD, no physical media and you have to hand over a piece of your upload quota?
Oh yeah, great idea. Will definitely be a roaring succes.

Re:huh? (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599166)

Price: I wish they'd get over that. If I walk into Wal-Mart and buy a DVD, as much as half of what I pay goes to Wal-Mart. That covers things like the building I walked into, the cashier who checked me out, the stocker who put it on the shelf, and the entire logistical system that got it from the factory to the store. Of the remaining half, a portion of that goes to the manufacture of the DVD, case, and cover. If I buy a digital copy, I don't pay for any of those things, which means the studio is just drastically increasing its profit margin while removing the middle man.

Upload quota: All I can say is they'd better let me limit it all I want if I'm paying to download something. I don't want to have to step my Torrents down just to get bandwidth to upload a movie I *PAID FOR*.

It will be a success though, if they can make it easy to use and not too heavily restricted (if the movies can only be watched on their player, it's dead before it gets off the ground).

Learning from the RIAA's mistakes... (3, Interesting)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599080)

It seems the television networks and movie studios are learning from the record labels what not to do. A lot of networks are jumping on board with Google and iTunes, and now Warner is looking at embracing digital distribution before movie sharing becomes as commonplace as music sharing has been for the past seven years.

What I'm most excited about is Firefly Season 2. From the buzz I've been hearing, they intend on doing something really revolutionary with it: it's going to be a subscription-based show not available on any networks. If the Browncoats can fully support a show the caliber of FireFly, that's going to force the network execs to sit up and take notice.

Joss Whedon has "no comment" on the S-2 website (1)

Fearan (600696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599479)

You might want to read: this [] article before sprouting info on this. It seems that the "company" wants to do something good, but really haven't gotten any input from Joss yet.

What's in it for me? (1)

nother_nix_hacker (596961) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599097)

So let me get this straight. I make no savings because the download will be a similar price to a DVD _AND_ I have to give up some of my bandwidth so that others get the content too. On top of all this the file will be DRM laden meaning I can't actually use it for anything?

Sounds great to me, where do I sign up?

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck (2, Interesting)

sane? (179855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599114)

Same price as a DVD, using somebody else's bandwidth. Unless these are released before the DVD is then there is no reason to choose this option. Maybe that's the point.

Since I can rent a DVD by mail for 1 unit of currency it difficult to see anything else other than an attempt to say "see tried it, didn't work". The price needs to be around half that of a retail DVD, at most.

Oh, and no intrusive DRM either.

On a related point, has anyone noticed how movie and TV are coming together into a true competitive marketplace? The gap is much smaller than it used to be.

The more you give the same you get (4, Funny)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599118)

This sucks. I read about something like this on /. previously. People fork over their bandwidth, yet they pay fall fare for content. A movie costs the same for a guy with OC12 as it does for a guy on a 9600 baud courier modem. A pricing scheme that rewards fast uploads would be a fantastic way to improve the strength of the internet - everyone would pay more for fast uprate to save money!

Malicious note - here's a chance for movie pirates to use the same guerilla tactics as the industry - poisoning commercial P2P seeds! Inject that 1 frame of shlong and make Tyler Durden proud!

Peer Impact to Offer NBC \Universal Movies (2, Informative)

microbrewer (774971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599126)

Press Release:11-17-2005


Peer Impact becomes the first legitimate Peer to Peer to offer Video On Demand

Englewood Cliffs, NJ and Saratoga Springs, NY -November 17, 2005 - NBC Universal and Wurld Media, the creator of the legitimate Peer to Peer (P2P) service Peer Impact, today announced an agreement that will make Universal movies and NBC Universal TV events content available to Peer Impact customers on demand. This agreement marks the first ever license of major studio content to a legitimate P2P service. Titles will be available for rental for a 24-hour viewing period after purchase.

"NBC Universal has a long history of embracing technology to better serve our viewers," said Bob Wright, vice chairman of GE and chairman and CEO of NBC Universal. "This agreement is a significant step forward in our goal to capitalize on the myriad possibilities of new digital-media services, in a way that allows us to safeguard our content from illegal distribution."

"NBC Universal is committed to providing our content to consumers in a way that meets their needs," said David Zaslav, president, NBC Universal Cable. "This agreement with Wurld Media furthers that commitment by allowing consumers to view the highest-quality movies securely on their computers."

"It has been a great honor to work with the executives at NBC Universal with whom we share a common vision for the future of this consumer marketplace," said Gregory Kerber, Chairman and CEO of Wurld Media. "This monumental convergence of technology and entertainment will bring digital media into the living room of the consumer, placing on-demand entertainment at their fingertips."

Peer Impact offers its users a secure, high quality environment for rental and purchase of digital content, including music, video games, and with this announcement, for the first time, major film and television event titles. For the benefit of its users, all content is placed on the P2P network by Wurld Media - no unauthorized content can be introduced on to the network.

As with all digital content that is traded over Peer Impact, users will earn Peer Cash for their participation in distributing videos on the network and for recommending video purchases to others. Peer Impact's unique technology allows members to earn cash back for acting as "paid redistributors" of content purchased over the network. Users simply leave their computers on, and if they are selected as a source of fulfillment for purchases on the network, they receive Peer Cash that may be used toward future purchases.

On demand movies from the Universal film library include Academy-Award winning films "Ray" and "The Motorcycle Diaries; " recent titles such as "Meet the Fockers" and "The Bourne Supremacy" as well as upcoming premieres of "The Skeleton Key", "Cinderella Man" and "The Forty Year Old Virgin." Specials and stunts include "Jerry Springer: Uncensored," "5th Wheel" and "Blind Date" franchises; family-friendly programming like "Kicking & Screaming," the "Balto" series and "The Land Before Time." In addition, "Laura Sin Censura," one of the most successful Hispanic VOD offerings to date, will also be available to Peer Impact customers.

This announcement is the latest in Peer Impact's licensing and distribution arrangements. Peer Impact recently launched the first multimedia version of their service, which introduced over 1000 video games to the service and has bolstered its music catalog to include not only all major music labels but the largest independent labels as well.

# # #

About NBC Universal

NBC Universal is one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric, with 20% controlled by Vivendi Universal.

About Wurld Media, Inc.

Founded in September of 1999, Wurld Media Inc. is a privately held company based in Saratoga Springs, New York. In 2005, Wurld Media launched Peer Impact(TM), the first legal peer to peer (P2P) network to have successfully secured distribution agreements with all four major record labels, as well as a growing list of leading independent music labels. The company is continuing to expand its service to include the leading publishers from the video game, motion picture and audio book industry to complement its existing digital media marketplace. Peer Impact is unique in that it offers users cash back for sharing approved content over its network. Members essentially act as "paid redistributors" of legal content and can earn credit toward future purchases of digital media through the Peer Impact network. For more information, please visit or

Step in the right direction... (1)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599144)

I couldn't find it in the article, but it seems that they are just offering the movie, no extras. One of the big things about DVDs in general, especially those "extended editions" or what have you, are the extras that come along with them.

Charging the same for the movie itself at what is most likely a lower quality and in a locked format won't make anyone use the service over buying a DVD (or continuing to download them for free.) However, it is a step in the right direction, probably spurred by iTunes' video sales.

The conspiracy theorist in my says that this is a set up- they know that by charging the same price as a DVD and putting all these hobbles on it, they won't get high sales. They can then claim that they've tried the "public" idea of taking P2P as a business model, that it failed, and then hand out another set of lawsuits.

Zero Common Sense (2, Insightful)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599151)

So basically I have to pay the same price as a DVD for less features AND I have to do the work...

now will it be true P2P (ie will I be helping to spread the file, which probably wouldnt work because of DRM)

basically, they are going to overcharge people for a DRM packed file that isnt as useful as a standard DVD then be shocked when it doesnt work...
thats my prediction.

Good idea, bad implimentation (2, Insightful)

Gyorg_Lavode (520114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599164)

This is a good idea. Certainly one I would be interested in. But come on. The cost of a DVD for something I download? Also I didn't see anything in the article about burning which would be very important to me. Similarly are they making the video playable in any way other than their software? Everything stored on my computer but played through my TV is done using xbox media center for me. And I don't mine sharing some. Maybe 2x or 3x my download. But I certainly am not going to leave it on indefinately and let them suck up my bandwidth. I have a 90k uplink. I become everyone's best friend when I turn on bittorrent.

But over all I am happy to see them stepping forward. Most of the above problems, (pricing, amount to upload, burning), would take a little redirection at the corporate level and could be implimented quickly.

We really need a universal streaming format acceptable by DRM standards but open to client implimentations. Something like NTSC over IP. The server can be closed but the client should be universal so that I can get it built into my xbox media center or my windows media extender, etc. I would think that recording this would be no more of a threat than recording to a vhs tape or rca in connection.

Two steps forward, one step back (2, Insightful)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599180)

Digital distribution - well done.

Same price as a DVD? Wake up. Why should I pay the same for something more restricted?

Do content producers think they can do the same thing they did with CD and DVD, and just keep/raise prices with formats? You've got to add something to earn a premium.

I'll just buy the DVD (2, Insightful)

brain1 (699194) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599188)

Somehow what seems missed here is the cost of keeping my PC alive 24/7 just to give free bandwidth with no payback. If I have to buy the movie, put up with it's DRM, and give the person who charged me (at no discount) free server space, no deal! If I buy the DVD, I have the physical copy, can play it on anything I own, thanks to many who are equally sick of the abuse of the fair use act. I dont wear out harddrives, cook the CPU, and run up my electric bill with the 600W power supply. Plus the only way I would run a P2P server is if I can run it under Linux where I have *real* control of what is exposed to the wire.

Besides, unless you have a OC-3 fiber cabinet installed in your hall closet, it will take an eternity to download top-quality video via typical ADSL. Forget it if you only have a modem.

Oops, I forgot. We, in the US, have an inferior system of obsolete TELCO's who grudgingly gave us DSL just to protect their obsolete switches from meltdown due to all the modems.


what if... (5, Interesting)

MooseTick (895855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599204)

Everyone is complaining about the fact that it will be "similar to the cost of a DVD." What if it will be 1/2 the cost of a DVD. Would you want to use it then. Would that make it worth the hassle of downloaded, potentially using up dl quotas, DRM, etc?

When you can illegally download nearly anything for free or goto Blockbusters and rent whatever for $5, what would you pay to be able to legally download content using P2P that will be DRMed?

Re:what if... (2, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599374)

Matters on half of what. Getting a $22 movie for $11, that's not half bad, but worth leaving your PC on all month? Nah. I can goto a local Block Buster and rent new releases for $1.50. I can open Video On Demand (Charter) and get videos instantly for $4-6. Sure VoD costs more, but I don't have to dirve anywheres, return anything, and it's instant.

The BEST way to get this to work would be to replace NetFlix. $15 a month to have access to their private P2P network. As long as you pay your monthly fee your P2P account and DRM key remain valid. Now that I might be interested in.


They still don't get it, do they? (4, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599226)

The reason people prefer P2P than buying DVD's (or CD's for music) is the friggin' overinflated prices imposed on them!

The **AA isn't willing to let go of their precious dollars. And so, they pretend to modernize themselves by offering downloads, but they don't modernize what REALLY keeps them in the jurassic age. The prices.

Dubbed movies (2, Funny)

3.14159265 (644043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599232)

Well, at least the movies are dubbed. This is a good thing.
Why doesn't music get dubbed as well??
(yes, being ironic...)

Why "P2P"??? (2, Informative)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599240)

Can't they afford to pay for the fucking bandwidth? A few gigs of data download should'nt cost more than a cent or two. Compared to what they plan to charge for the movie, it's nothing.

they miss the point (2, Insightful)

Yonder Way (603108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599328)

It's nice to see them trying to meet their customers halfway but really I think a few things have to happen:

1) Eliminate DRM.
2) Price the movies so cheaply that there isn't much point in stealing it. If a song is worth $1, and a TV show is worth $2, a movie shouldn't be worth more than $4 or $5 (US dollars). Make the "special features" a free optional download for people who have purchased the movie (a lot of people, myself included, will usually opt to just download the movie). Note that this could almost completely assume all of the $$$ that rental outfits are making from movies, allowing the studios to pocket profits from the vast majority of people who will just view the movie once and then discard it.
3) Work with the major PVR platforms to make it easier to buy an unencumbered $4 or $5 movie right from the menu than it is to download a pirate torrent and import it into the PVR. Don't just partner with one major commercial interest, get in bed with the OSS platforms also. Billions of dollars are at stake so spending a couple of million to have your product supported on the majority of popular PVR platforms is buying free money.

So can I burn it? (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599418) you can burn CDs with iTMS.

Available online, no need to get to a store. But if getting to a store is that hard, do they have proper broadband out there in the wilds?
Possibility for instant start (downloading as you go). Much more difficult with torrent-like systems because you need them in order. Can they provide that kind of sustained speeds to most consumers anyway?

For a DVD, you can often get it as quickly by retail stores, online sites if you don't have good broadband
You know where you can get it cheaper...
You don't get any of the packaging. Do we even get the DVD extras?
Can you take a back-up?
Can you play it on a regular DVD player?
Can you move it to other machines like you can with a DVD disc?
They want to use your upload bandwidth

Basicly, no burning is a total and complete dealbreaker for me. And I know we can't burn CSS DVDs (consumer burners can't), and we won't be allowed to burn non-CSS DVDs. And if your HDD dies? Either you must a) download countless gigabytes AGAIN, or you must burn back-ups (maybe with some activation scheme). But then there's really no advantage over regular DVDs anyway, except now you need to make your own hardcopy. There's a big difference between having a HTPC and being forced to absolutely, for all future have to use one. Bought a DVD player to have in your cabin/car (great way to make kids STFU)/son's/daughter's room? Sorry.

It's a good start (2, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599447)

It is a good start but it won't really take off until they revise their idea of how it is supposed to work and how much it should cost to the end user. Downloading a DVD for a price of a real DVD doesn't make sense, because if you want to play it in a DVD player now you have to buy an expensive blank and spend time burning the thing.

It would make some sense if they at least mailed you the real DVD after you buy the right to download a copy. But that is what I would do and I think I can come up with some innovative ideas time to time.

40$ for a DVD of television is too much (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599526)

If online companies offered their shows with or preferably without commercials for download, like OnDemand in Cable, it'd work if their pricepoint is set well. You can see movies and television seasons for free from the library nowadays too.

Not to be redundant, but a summary (1)

ursabear (818651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14599547)

*Willing to get video out on the 'net
*Dubbed for the folks who speak German
*Trying to do something technologically interesting

Don't like:
*Trying to do something technologically interesting (without understanding what they're really doing, it appears...)
*Not using their own resources for ALL distribution
*DRMing the content
*Not a price break over buying the physical DVD
*Ketchup on ice cream
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